Dallas Opera Receives $2.5 Million Dollar Gift
The Dallas Opera has announced the largest corporate gift in the opera's 57-year history; a landmark $2.5 million lead gift from Betty and Steve Suellentrop, and Hunt Consolidated, Inc., intended to inspire other major gifts in support of opera-based education, family performances and community outreach.
Steve Suellentrop is the incoming chairman of the board of directors of the Dallas Opera. He also is the president of Hunt Oil Company.
The historic gift creating the "Betty and Steve Suellentrop Educational Outreach Fund" is designed to provide support for TDO's multifaceted and nationally recognized education and community outreach programs, including effective new approaches to audience development and continuing patron engagement.
Steve Suellentrop said that, "in an era where fewer resources are available to schools to expose and educate our children about the arts, it's important for arts organizations to play a leading role in making access to all of the classical art forms a reality. Every child deserves the opportunity to experience the joys of music and the excitement of opera."
Programs include educational outreach to 19 North Texas school districts, homeschoolers and other providers serving more than 20,000 teachers and students each year by providing hundreds of on-site performances; Metropolitan Opera high-definition broadcasts, school visits and master classes with internationally renowned composers, singers and designers. In addition, the company provides teacher training sessions that equip educators with the tools to maximize the impact of these special experiences for their students, even as they enhance learning outcomes in core subjects.
The Dallas Opera also strives to provide budget-minded family programming in the form of abridged classics (The Elixir of Love), age-appropriate short operas (Doctor Miracle), and fresh contemporary takes on fun and familiar tales (Billy Goat's Gruff and Jack and the Beanstalk) in venues ranging from local after-school programs and summer camps to the elegant Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center.
"The Dallas Opera is already receiving national and international recognition for its undisputed commitment to making opera more engaging and accessible through free public simulcasts, innovative family programming and teacher-friendly education programs," explains Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny.
"This remarkable gift from Betty and Steve Suellentrop and Hunt Consolidated enables the company to secure the future of these dynamic programs that rally the community, support our schools, build the next generation of opera lovers and inspire our donors. We are thrilled to have their enthusiastic support for our service to the entire North Texas community," he added.
Each of these programs reflects the Dallas Opera's continuing commitment to the community at large; a commitment TDO made with its first school performances in 1961. Last year alone, these proactive programs allowed the Dallas Opera to touch the lives of more than 50 thousand people.